NORMAN — Typically, rock bottom is achieved with a loss. The Oklahoma women better hope it can be achieved in victory, because that was very nearly all they had to show for Saturday night’s 61-50 decision over a Kansas State team still looking for its first conference win.
Coming off a pair of overtime losses, at home to Iowa State and away at Texas, the Sooners (11-6, 2-2 Big 12) appeared still shellshocked by their recent outcomes, turning in 20 of their worst minutes of the season on the way to a hard-to-watch 23-18 halftime lead that included 14-of-54 shooting between both teams.
That was followed by at least 8 more sluggish minutes, which was followed by a reasonably good stretch OU will try to build on before meeting a very good West Virginia team in Morgantown in six days.
“All wins are good wins in the Big 12 Conference,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “You’ve got to take care of your home floor and we did that tonight.”
Not much else was achieved.
The best Sooner on the court might have been Sharane Campbell, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while hitting 7 of 9 shots.
It was Campbell who sparked OU’s strongest minutes, getting one of OU’s five steals at the 12:39 mark, which resulted in senior shooting guard Aaryn Ellenberg getting to the free-throw line. With 11:31 remaining, Campbell added a driving layup and with 10:39 remaining she hit a jumper. Less than 70 seconds later, she’d added two more field goals and a pair of rebounds.
“What you saw from her at the 12-minute and change (mark) on the clock tonight, the game turned during that spell,” Coale said. “That’s when Sharane decided to present her package on the floor. She was passion and energy and aggression.”
Campbell lamented she didn’t come through earlier.
“I can’t just wait until the second half to play like that,” she said.
After struggling much of the game, Ellenberg came to life in time to post 23 points on 6-of-16 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3-point land.
Center Nicole Griffin only put up three shots, making two, but finished with 13 points to go with her five rebounds on the strength of 10-of-13 foul shooting.
Good individual numbers aside, OU didn’t even break the 20-point barrier until a Griffin jumper 1:35 before the half and didn’t get to 40 points until 11:31 remained in the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Ellenberg said. “It’s trying to be patient and trying to get everybody patient and get everybody on the same page. It looks like everybody’s trying to do it by themselves a lot.”
Leticia Romero led Kansas State with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
Wildcat coach Deb Patterson thought a reasonably close game against the Sooners was “a great sign for us.”
OU committed 17 turnovers, which is more than Coale would prefer, and made 41 percent (20 of 49) of its shots, which is less. Still, more than any numbers, the Sooner coach wants her team to overcome the energy deficiency that appeared so prevalent Saturday night.
“Regardless of who you’re playing, or where you’re playing or what’s at stake, there is one thing that has to be consistent,” she said, “and that is the energy that you bring to the floor. That is non-negotiable.”
Follow me @clayhorning
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.